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Question Mark review: Intermittently engaging!

Question Mark review: Intermittently engaging!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Saturday 18 February 2012

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Movie Title

Question Mark

Director

Yash Dave and Allison Patel

Star Cast

Akhlaque Khan, Yaman Chatwal, Varun Thakur, Chirag Jain, Sonam Mukherjee, Maanvi Gagroo, Kiran Bhatia

The directors Yash Dave and Allison Patel credit themselves with a ''footage compiled by'' credit. We don?t see the conventional opening credits spelling out the cast and crew either. The idea is to stay as authentic to the idea as possible.

The idea being that the film presents its spooky story in the form of ?found footage?. A popular genre, and introduced for the first time in a Hindi film, the design is to make you forget that it?s a scripted and shot product. And does succeed in making you suspend reality for intermittent moments.

We meet a college gang on their way to a hill-station to shoot a project film. The trip is full of nonsensical and constant banter common among friends that age. They also talk about their future-some have it completely sorted and have picked out the institutes out for higher education; others want to live it up some more.

When they finally reach the winding road that leads to their destination-a dilapidated bungalow- your heart skips a beat. But the kids are unperturbed and gather around a bon-fire at night discussing the paranormal.

Weird stuff happens that night, spookier happenings take place the next. A raggedly doll is discovered during a film recee; a game of Dark Room turns volatile. The kids feel the place is possibly haunted; what?s worse they realize it?s a place difficult to escape.

The film scores on building real, intelligent characters. This age-group is grossly misrepresented in our films and usually portrayed as air-headed idlers. Here, these young men and women, with distinct personalities, are bright and insightful people who cherish their friendships.

On realizing the place is not quite normal, the equation shifts. Their frustrated fights, meltdowns and breakdowns are expertly filmed. The cast is impressive, and most of the actors should have a bright future ahead. Camerawork and sound effects are well-executed.

Built on a simple premise, the film is inspired by Hollywood films like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity that present the story in the form of ?found footage?. The basic story of a bunch of young people going to shoot a film is taken from The Blair Witch Project. Other techniques like the ECU (Extreme close-up) of a character talking into the camera are direct TBW rip-offs.

The film did need better editing. There are scenes that go on and on, but one suspects the intention is to maintain the authenticity of the ?found footage? concept. The repetitive scenes do get monotonous in the second-half, as by now, we?ve pretty much guessed the end.

Where the film also falters is the lack of explanation as to why the entity wants to harm these kids. Is the film assuming that all paranormal entities, if they do exist, are evil? If not, then what has rattled this entity to vent out on them?

If you don?t ask these questions, and take the film as it is, it?s pretty engaging stuff. Scary enough to please the horror film-buffs, but not overwhelmingly terrifying, Question Mark is a reasonably good weekend watch.

Rating: Two and a half stars

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